Romeo and Juliet: Star-crossed lovers in the here and now


Kathleen Komos

Performers at dancing party scene in Romeo and Juliet preview on Nov 15. (Photo by Jing Wang)

Many students might cringe at the thought of watching Shakespeare live. They might think it is too old, or the language is too difficult to understand.

Travis Marsala, a senior and theater performance major who plays Lord Capulet, thinks differently.

“It’s got sex and violence. What more do you want?”  Marsala said.

Romeo and Juliet — directed by Mac Groves, an acting and history professor at Northern Arizona University (NAU) — is going to be the last show for many theater majors, and they want everyone to know they are going out with a bang.

Marsala had a difficult time picking his favorite element of working on a play and Romeo and Juliet in particular.

“I have to choose just one? I would have to say working with my fellow seniors. This is like our big goodbye. It’s my last semester and it’s been awesome,” Marsala said.

Sarah Goewey, a senior theater performance major, plays the love-struck teenager Juliet. She also loves the updated version of Romeo and Juliet the department decided to perform.

“It’s an interesting take on an old story,” Goewey said. “It’s modern, and not your grandmother’s Romeo and Juliet.

However, even with updated social struggles with drugs, gang violence, and class separation, the actors still worked with Shakespeare’s original words. Goewey enjoyed working with the language of Shakespeare even if it was difficult sometimes.

“I adore Shakespeare. He wrote amazing plays, and they still work today,” she said. “It’s not easy, in fact, it’s very hard, but it is very rewarding.”

Lucy Shuh, the stage manager and a senior theater studies major, believes this version of Romeo and Juliet is very unique.

“This show is unlike any other Romeo and Juliet that you have ever seen,” Shuh said. “It showcases the relationships between parent and child and not just the drugs and the guns.”

Although she enjoys working with the cast in rehearsal, Schuh loves the thrill of a live audience more.

“Rehearsal is fun and our technical rehearsal is tedious,” she said. “But nothing beats a live audience and running a show. It’s so unpredictable.”

Performances will resume after the Thanksgiving holiday at 8 p.m., Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 with a final matinee performance at 2 p.m. Dec. 2.

Tickets are $2 for NAU students and can be purchased at the ticket office in the University Union.


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